Just to be clear - these are ads that were posted on YouTube - either by the brands themselves or their ad agencies etc. They aren't those ads you wait for the 'Skip Ad' message or open another tab with your device on mute until the entire awful 30 second invasion ends.
I haven't arranged them in top five sequence - but I have put my personal favourite at the top (hey, it's my blog…) The Force ad for Volkswagen just makes me laugh every time I see it. Simple idea. Simple demonstration of a product feature (car automatically starts remotely - which I guess is good if you live in a snowy place - though VW don't labour that literally with explanatory exposition because, well, people aren't stupid. The performance of the kid as Lord Vader is sweet. The oversized head makes him (or her) seem like Charlie Brown or, more likely, Calvin without Hobbes. The parents are placeholders but,…so what without them a car starting on its own would just be a Stephen King scenario. Warm, charming story, well directed…oh and a hit on YouTube - viewed more times than its on-air media spend would ever have afforded.
Intriguing that ads with messages that empower girls and women feature strongly to balance out the macho Messi/Kobe/Van Damme braggadoccio - Yin and Yan on YouTube - though now it seems any message of gender stereotype realignment refers back to the Dove campaign for Real Beauty - first mover advantage?
Google - who assembled the list - offer their analysis of the trends that were levered by the five advertisers. I've paraphrased.
1. Be authentic: On YouTube, authenticity is always the right choice.
2. Make video ads interactive: YouTube viewers are able to engage—comment, share, and click—in ways television never could. Make it easy for viewers to watch more or click-through to your website with interactive cards. However you make your videos interactive, give the engaged YouTube audience the opportunity to do something, not just see something.
3. Collaborate with experts who live and breathe YouTube. YouTube creators are experts in cultivating relationships with their fans through the content they produce. They know the right tone to take and the right topics to cover because they're having conversations on their own YouTube channels every day.
4. Take the time you need to tell your story: It's time to break free of the 30-second spot. Your story doesn't have to fit into a timeframe of 15 or 30 seconds anymore; it just has to be a story viewers want to watch.
5. Think like a filmmaker, not an ad maker: "Epic" used to be a word to describe the films that followed ads, but not anymore. Ads these days can be epic too. Consider creating videos with a film-y feel and a dramatic, storytelling quality. If you have the time to tell any story you like, why not make it epic?
6. Have fun with ad formats: Ad formats don't have to be limitations. What if you used them to your advantage? Take the "skip" button, for example. GEICO created a series of "unskippable" ads that communicate the brand's message in just five seconds, telling the user, "You can't skip this GEICO ad … because it's already over."
7. More Jean-Claude Van Damme: Enough said.
Gone are the days when ads lived in one medium and spoke at consumers. Brands and marketers have used YouTube over the past decade to change that paradigm. Ads on YouTube are still vehicles for telling great stories, but now they're much more than that. They allow advertisers to invite users to interact, cultivate relationships, and build fandoms of their own.
The Force - Volkswagen Passat
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.